She needs to make an appointment to see the Designated Student Officer at her school as they must issue an I-20 to her authorizing optional practical training. She should have an employer lined up to do the training. She will then take the new I-20 and file an I-765 with supporting documentation to obtain her work card -- valid for one year (instructions on where to mail are on the USCIS website under Immgiration Forms. . With the work card she then goes to Social Security office to obtain a Social Security number. she can also hire an immigration attorney to help her apply for the work card.
Lynne R. Feldman, Attorney at Law
Concentrating in Immigration Law
2221 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 201
San Diego, CA 92108 | (619) 299-9600
Fax: (619) 923-3277
Former Adjunct Professor -- Immigration law
University of Illinois College of Law
When she graduates, she should seek work authorization based on Optional Practical Training (OPT) and then perhaps seek employment through which she could be sponsored for longer-term status, such as H-1B.
When you say 'local professionals' I hope you're not talking about Chicago. US immigration law is the same in the entire US and any US licensed, and experienced, immigration attorney can provide valuable information.
Let's look at the facts:
1. You say that she came in 12/11 with a visa valid for 1 year, until 12/12 ... this fact is actually irrelevant. The minute she entered the US she was given an I-94 with D/S (duration of status) ... that document controls and 'overrides' the visa sticker in her passport.
2. The I-94 is 'tied' to her I-20 (which you state is valid until 4/14) ... as long as she stays in school and maintains her 'status' as a student, her SEVIS and D/S remains valid.
3. Her internship options, prior to graduation, are limited and ... to be honest ... in most cases it is NOT a good idea to use-up "CPT" work permit time .. .done improperly it can 'cut' into post-graduation "OPT" work permit time.
4. You haven't told us if this 'friend' is someone that you are considering getting married to, nor anything else about her personal situation. Thus, she probably doesn't have any family sponsorship/work permit options.
5. AFTER graduation she can get a 1 year work permit (OPT) ... during that time she can find an employer that might be interested in sponsoring her for a temporary (H) and/or permanent (EB-2/3) visa.
Now would be a good time for you to choose an attorney to consult and spend time exploring her personal options ... many of us use Skype, thus it need not be someone in Chicago. But, don't get me wrong, there are many very competent attorneys in Chicago.
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Find one dedicated immigration professional of your choice to facilitate all these important objectives. There is no one short and simple answer to your inquiry, I am afraid.
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There are numerous ways to obtain work authorization and even permanent resident status (green card) in the United States. She needs to meet with an immigration attorney who can dissect her life to see which laws she can utilize to obtain her objectives. These conversations are very private and each solution is unique depending on the particular circumstances of each client. Getting in depth about these options on a public forum is inappropriate. Of course their are canned answers but these are often only based on the facts you present - a good lawyer will want to ask his/her own questions to see if there is an opportunity that you would have missed. This is the reason why so many of my colleagues, and I agree with them, recommend meeting a qualified immigration attorney who will take the time to ask these questions. That is what I am recommending now.
Best of luck,
Khaja M. Din, Esq.
Din Law, LLC
Free Initial Consult For All Your Immigration Questions
As was previously suggested last time you posted the question, have the school's DSO work with her. She has been paying their institution to study there legally - they should be able to help.
This advice does not form an attorney-client relationship and is merely informative. It should not by itself be relied upon to address a legal concern.